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The One-Armed Swordsman

44 customer reviews

Additional DVD options Edition Discs
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(Jun 19, 2007)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

(Action/Comedy) A young woman marries a dying senior member of a martial arts family in order to protect her family’s fortunes, leading to a duel with a greedy relative.

"You made me a cripple, so I'll make you a cripple, too," sneers charismatic swordplay superstar Wang Yu, clutching his severed member, in this 1967 classic of manly suffering and bloodshed. Because of its implacable-revenge motif, and its extended training sequences, this is sometimes cited as the first true martial arts movie--a transitional film between the old-school swordplay and the contemporary kung fu genres. Whatever you call it, it is easily one of the most influential Asian action movies ever made. A master of long-sword fighting techniques, Wang loses an arm in the early innings. (It is hacked off by the woman he loves.) In order to exact payback, he has to master the unfamiliar short-sword style, using the stump of his symbolically shattered blade. Meanwhile, enemies of the long-sword school have invented a sneaky "sword-clamp" device and deploy it against the good guys. Issues of fighting style and discipline are central; one technique trumps another, and the hero triumphs because, driven by rage, he practices more obsessively than his foes. This is a lean, effective piece of genre craftsmanship from the great director Chang Cheh, finally available in the U.S. in a letterboxed version that gives his shapely widescreen compositions a fair shake. --David Chute

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Jimmy Wang Yu, Huang Chung Shun, Pin Yin Tze
  • Directors: Chang Cheh
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: Chinese
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Dragon Dynasty
  • DVD Release Date: June 19, 2007
  • Run Time: 117 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000MM0LF0
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #55,283 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The One-Armed Swordsman" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Brian Camp on October 14, 2001
Format: VHS Tape
Jimmy Wang Yu starred in many Shaw Bros. swordplay films in the 1960s, but it was THE ONE-ARMED SWORDSMAN (1967), directed by the prolific Chang Cheh, that put him on the map as the leading action star of Hong Kong cinema at the time and shifted the direction of HK sword films to a harder-edged, bloodier style with a greater emphasis on martial arts. It was the first film of its type to stress the training aspect of swordplay and gives the hero a half-burned manual which teaches him left-hand sword techniques after his right arm had been chopped off in a jealous pique by his master's beautiful but impetuous daughter. Having gone into hiding with a loyal farm girl (whose father had been a swordsman and was the original owner of the manual), Wang Yu goes back into action, after the requisite training period, to aid his former master when his school comes under attack from evil swordsmen led by Long-Armed Devil and Smiling Face.
The villains have a lethal device on their swords which locks on to the sword of their opponent and enables them to deliver the killing blow with a dagger held in their right hands as they fight. Only Wang Yu's broken sword (left to him by his dead father, who was killed when he was a boy) can counteract the effects of the sword-lock.
Wang Yu had the proper dark and brooding quality for such a role and he is well served by the violent, bleak tone of the film. He returned to the role in one official sequel, the nonstop slaughterfest, THE RETURN OF THE ONE-ARMED SWORDSMAN (1968), and later went to a rival studio to star in ONE-ARMED BOXER (1971). Shaw Bros. countered with THE NEW ONE-ARMED SWORDSMAN (1971), starring David Chiang in the title role, which had less intensity and more spectacle.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By The Critic on July 2, 2007
Format: DVD
The Weinstein Company has to be commended for finally releasing "The One-Armed Swordsman" completely restored on DVD. The video and audio restoration that went into this release is truly amazing. This 1967 Martial Arts Classic is presented in it's 2.35:1 Widescreen format and is enhanced for 16x9 televisions. This is without a doubt the best version of "The One-Armed Swordsman" I've ever seen. The video transfer is just spectacular and the colors are sharp and vibrant. The sound is clean and crisp albeit in mono. The sound options include original Mandarin or English dubbed version and choice of Subtitles.

The special features I found most interesting were the Interview with Jimmy Wang Yu and the Stills Gallery and Trailer Gallery. Sadly the commentary of Quentin Tarantino listed on the rear cover under the special features section of the DVD is missing.

Martial Arts fans will be amazed by the incredible quality of this release and the non-stop blood filled action. The One-Armed Swordsman is filled with magnificent swordplay, incredible Kung Fu and it's a definite must see for any fan of the Kung Fu genre. Outstanding Martial Arts Movie, Highly Recommend !!

DVD Bonus Features:
* Feature commentary by film scholars David Chute and Andy Klein
* Interview with Star Jimmy Wang Yu
* Interview with film scholars David Chute and Andy Klein
* The Master: Chang Cheh
* Stills gallery
* Trailer gallery
* Commentator biographies
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 3, 1999
Format: VHS Tape
A long time ago in Asia before Bruce Lee, there was another superstar. His name was Wang Yu. The movie that started all the other martial arts movies was this one, the one armed swordsman. I saw it when it first hit the theaters in Asia in the year 1967. The movie griped me to my seat and I could never forget it. Even after 32 years it feels like I just saw it yesterday. This movie is a collectors item, and you'll be amazed at the incredible sword play. Its also very bloody but in an artistic way. The critics missed this one as one of the all time greatest martial arts movies. But what do they know, they have a short memory. If you wants to see how martial arts movies started in Asia, they were called Mandarin movies, this was the best of them all.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Shawn McKenna on May 28, 2010
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Though the chambara (Japanese swordplay film) influence on Chang Cheh was already seen in his previous film The Magnificent Trio (1966), a remake of Hideo Gosha's Three Outlaw Samurai (1964) (and quite possibly the earlier Tiger Boy (1966): however this film is not available anywhere on DVD so it is hard to comment on it), it would be The One-Armed Swordsman that would help define Cheh as an auteur with his own blend of Japanese action aesthetics, American rebellious characters and Chinese wuxia heroes. This film would not only be the first film to break the 1 million HK dollars barrier it would also be a watershed moment for the area's cinema. The popularity of this film as well as King Hu's hit the year before Come Drink With Me helped push in a new era of Mandarin language movies as well as push out the indigenous language Cantonese cinema for several years. But it would be the brutal style of Chang that would dominate the regional efforts and not the Peking Opera influenced King Hu (it also did not help Hu that he was a much slower at making films than Chang). This movie would also be the first in the subgenre of "one-armed" films that stereotyped the career of the star of this movie Jimmy Wang Yu.

Wang Yu had already acted in a couple of Chang Cheh films, but it is his performance here as Fang Gang that would make him a star in Hong Kong. Fang is an orphan whose father had perished saving the life of Qi Ru-feng (Tien Feng: King Boxer (1972)). Qi shows his gratefulness by taking on Fang as a student. Fang also obtains the broken sword that was used by his father, but it could not possibly be of any use.
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